“Cultivate an attitude of gratitude”! Genesis has many 12-step groups who meet here for ongoing support as people face and deal with their addictive behaviors. 12-Step programs have several slogans that members speak to each other to remind them to turn their lives over to the God of their understanding and to live one day at a time. “Cultivate an attitude of gratitude” is one of my favorite slogans!
At this time of year, as the November calendar rolls forward our hearts and minds naturally go to thinking about Thanksgiving and what we are grateful for. What can you do to help cultivate an attitude of gratitude in your heart? As a spiritual director, I sometimes suggest that a person keep a gratitude journal. Keeping a daily gratitude journal is easy. All you need is something to write on – a journal, diary, notebook or just a piece of paper. Or you can do it digitally on your computer or tablet. There are even apps for gratitude journals! Some people write a gratitude list or journal everyday as a part of their spiritual practice. It keeps them from falling into depression and helps them remember that there are good things in their lives every day. It can help anyone retain a positive attitude.
How else might you benefit from keeping a gratitude journal? People who have kept a gratitude journal state that “it can lower your stress levels and help you feel calmer especially if you do it just before sleeping. Reviewing your journal can give you a new perspective on what is important to you and what you would like to have more of in your life. It can help you find out what really matters to you.”
What could be on your gratitude daily list or journal? Here are some examples from my life:
When I think of Genesis there are several people on my list that I am grateful for. I am grateful for our Executive Director, Liz Walz, and her positive spirit during this arduous time in history. I’m also grateful for the vitality and inspiration that Sister Elizabeth Oleksak continues to offer during her 88th year!
I am grateful for the entire staff who go about their work daily and successfully; their efforts keep Genesis going. Every day I am grateful to be able to work in such a beautiful setting on the grounds of Genesis. And Gracie, our companion Genesis cat, delights me with her purrs when she sits on my lap.
I am grateful for the men and women who are participating in the School for Contemplative Living. They are passionate about learning to live in a different way in the midst of our frantic society. They show up for class and express great enthusiasm for what we are offering. They are developing their spiritual practices and learning ways to incorporate them into their lives.
I’m grateful for the members of the book club I facilitate each week. This group has been together for almost a year and a half; we have just finished our fourth book. They have a wonderful comradery and have formed a tight-knit community. They really listen to each other and respect differences of opinion. A bond of love has evolved in the group.
Look around your world and see what you are grateful for. This year our holiday gatherings may be far different from previous ones due to the Coronavirus. Simple everyday things can make our hearts sing with joy. It doesn’t have to be big or a major achievement; it can be as simple as being grateful for a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning!
You can always find something to be grateful for! Try using a gratitude journal and see if it does help you maintain a sense of gratitude in your life! It may help you have a more joyful holiday season this year!
“Cultivate an attitude of gratitude”!
Sister Jane Comerford, CSJ
These past weeks I’ve had occasion to cover Genesis’ kitchen so our beloved Chef Jen could have a couple of days off. I delighted in harvesting tart cherries from the tree behind the Carriage House and incorporating them into Rainbow Chard, bacon and cherry pizzas, Chilled Persian Soup, and cooking them down for a sauce over vanilla ice cream.
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